May 202014
 

GeorgeM

Yes! You read it correctly. Now let me explain…

As we come close to the concert that will pay tribute to the late George Mesterhazy I thought you might like to know some background to what makes this year’s concert different. In a word strings and you could add woodwind to that word. We have a live chamber orchestra and I say live because George never did get to write for real strings. He provided memorable string arrangements via keyboard for Shirley Horn’s grammy (was it a winner or nominated?) album May The Music Never End and his piano playing was always so orchestral and that’s what seems so unfair – he never got to write for a real orchestra. He came close a few times and we all know by his exquisite taste and harmonic choices that he would have written pure beauty – ALWAYS. Furthermore, he loved arrangers and he and I (BTW not just me) talked for hours and hours with him about various arrangers mostly Robert Farnon, Johnny Mandel and more recently Vince Mendoza who George loved. Two years ago George’s good friend Barry Miles, the legendary pianist/arranger/composer mentioned that maybe we could do a concert with strings at the MAC Center in Cape May and we talked about the challenges involved with that – but we also sowed the seed of some ideas that are now about to bear fruit. It was fascinating to me how he and I, and later we would find also Vicki were on the same page with so many ideas. One recurring one was finding a way to take George’s piano notes and orchestrate them for strings and we discussed some ideas about that.

The next year passed quickly and I never heard from Barry as funding hadn’t been raised and I was on tour of Ireland with the Dublin City Jazz Orchestra and would be traveling back to the US on the same day as the Cape May concert was set to happen. It was later that summer (last summer) that I stayed with Vicki at the Merion Inn and she began discussing the string idea again. I tossed some ideas at her and we both began to get excited and then Vicki seemed to panic for a minute as she abruptly stopped further discussion as she wanted to talk with Barry Miles about this and wanted to make sure we didn’t get too far down the road making plans. Barry had been music director of these concerts since George’s passing and I remember Vicki asking if I thought we could work together on it. I love collaborating and I must admit, even I wasn’t prepared for the enjoyment this concert and preparation for it would bring. I made a 2nd trip down to Cape May and joined Barry, his wife Elaine and Vicki at the Merion where we had a meeting and a pasta dinner upstairs from the Merion. My two boys were with me and were too excited to settle, making their mattress into a trampoline and making it almost impossible to have a meeting. Elaine played with them a bit and they would seem to settle and then … off again. We did, at that point get an early framework for what you will hear on June 8th. Barry has a clarity about how he puts a project together that has taught me so much. Sometimes I feel I take the ring road around some areas where I could have taken a more direct route and can always benefit from the kind of cogent planning Barry brought by way of his experience and leadership.

I don’t want to discuss specific songs that are planned for performance as it may take away the element of surprise but for anyone who knew George – you’ll know his love affair with the Great American Songbook meant he could draw on many eras with well known and not so well known songs. With great vocalists like Paul Jost and Paula Johns singing, pianists like Barry and Dean Schneider and then add in one of George’s longest standing collaborators Joe Barrett on clarinet. Joe told me that George played many instruments with him – he was the bassist on a couple of gigs and knowing George he probably played guitar in some gigs too. All of the above makes me feel that between all of us we have helped George reach a dream –  he has finally written for strings and we have the privilege of bringing this dream to fruition!

The chamber orchestra consists of a small string section and three woodwind players. The great Diane Monroe from Philadelphia, one of the finest violinists on the scene will lead the strings and I’m particularly delighted by that as we have worked together quite a few times with Steve Wilson’s project. Diane has put the section together while the woodwinds are made up of Bob Rawlings on flute/alto flute/clarinet, MaryLou Newman on flute/alto flute and clarinet and my good friend Doug DeHays is playing an impressive array of doubles with bass flute/alto flute/bass clarinet. George’s long standing rhythm section of Bobby Shomo and Tim Lekan on drums and bass respectively will bring back many memories for anyone who went to ‘Jazz Night’ at the Merion over the years.

Playing at the Mac Center brings us to one of The most beautiful seaside towns on the Eastern Seaboard – of course I’m talking about Cape May, New Jersey. A hotel room in Cape May in summer season is like gold so to get to spend time in this beautiful part of the world adds to the joy of our visit. As always the drive down conjures up many memories for me of driving down to the Merion to play with George, Timmy and Bobby and like all of us onstage that night I am reminded of how much I miss my friend.

 

PS I thought of writing this after I’d already gone to press 🙂 George and I would occasionally dream/talk out loud about how great it would be to write a project together  like they did in the old days and be so busy that one might start a chart while the other finished it – we had heard the stories of Marion Evans and Don Costa doing that and crediting the arrangement to Don Evans. What would George and I have done? George O’Rourke? or David Mesterhazy? Well, we have a new team as Barry, without knowing George and I often talked about this, suggested we do the finale tune together and we did!  WHAT FUN that has been and while I’m at it – one of my charts is really a joint arrangement of George’s and mine. Just like we always talked about…

 

 Posted by at 10:46 pm
Feb 202014
 

I have often found it difficult in recent times to answer the question “What do you do?” Why is this difficult you may wonder? It is difficult when you try to narrow it down to one ‘thing’ only but not difficult I simply answer that I’m a ‘musician’. This is usually followed by a question, that seems logical, “what instrument do you play?”. So…, I’m going to attempt to spell this out along with a few answers to questions I haven’t been asked too much outside but do ask of myself – more on that a little later.

When I first drove my parents crazy to keep playing “Fine Girl You Are!” by the Clancy Brothers over and over (a song better known by it’s real title: The Holy Ground) I can safely say that the thoughts of me playing or singing these songs were not present in me at all.

Playing guitar?

Air guitar to Hello Goodbye in the late 60s to playing Let It Be on piano (much to the chagrin of my first piano teacher). Then there’s the harmonica on a coat hanger strapped around my neck, held on by tape while I channelled my inner Dylan or Donovan, or Joshua Rifkin playing Scott Joplin, all the folkies on TV like John Denver, Ralph McTell, Planxty, Paul Brady BUT… it was Paul McCartney’s Red Rose Speedway album that captured me. Two songs fell of my fingers almost right away Single Pigeon and When The Night along with the hit single My Love, featuring Henry McCullough’s great guitar solo. Macca led me through my teen years and I still love his sound today but somewhere along the way a change fell upon me. My brother Michael showed me my first few chords and my memory of his musicality is quite strong. He seemed to be able to play anything he tried to, also his ear seemed to be able to pick up anything with the minimum of effort.

Jazz (early days)?

Hearing Louis Stewart on RTE, Irish TV was initially over my head but my father loved his playing so much and would pay special attention when he saw him and over time, it began to captivate me too. Louis The First and Out On His Own, both produced by the late Gerald Davis were a huge, early influence on me.

Hearing Pat Martino for the first time floored me. His tone, touch, lines, taste and concept – everything about him just grabbed me. Soon, I would find myself trying to be like him, use the same strings, stone picks and wondering whether I could ever meet him, hear him live or even study with him! Along with Louis I was also receiving guidance of a local resident, originally from the UK Bert Crosland, a rhythm guitarist in the style of Freddie Greene, playing on an old Gibson guitar, so old, that the name Kalamazoo, not Gibson was on the headstock. Bert scared me in to learning so many tunes, was always encouraging when I would express crazy ideas like wanting to arrange for big band, compose music, write for strings… never once tried to put me off and ALWAYS seemed to try to find ways to help me explore these ideas.

Arranging/Composing

I loved the quality of writing Sinatra seemed to inspire in his arrangers and thanks to Bert and indeed RTE DJs I would learn the name of Nelson Riddle, later in the amazing Robert Farnon via Louis Stewart – Louis was Bob’s guitarist of choice. Linda Ronstadt’s collaborations with Nelson Riddle seemed to please me a lot more than the critics – I always felt Riddle got a different sound on the ballads with her – a darker, more pensive sound in the orchestrations.

So what do YOU do David?

The short answer is I love music so much that I want to experience it in as many different ways as I possibly can. As I move through this path I find the answer changing slightly (sometimes) also radically (also sometimes).  I love to play my guitar, write arrangements with and for others, I love composition because of the freedom you experience as you create something., I love conducting these arrangements and compositions and hearing them come to life. Sometimes, writing to existing arrangements or formats for small groups can be a little hard to get the juices flowing but when approached as a different discipline, i.e. a collaborative effort  the doors fly open and the creative juices start to flow. From the first guitar lessons I gave to Breffni Murphy after he convinced me to teach through to working with the kids at

So what do WANT to do?

This is a short answer. I would love to score films – the idea of setting music which suggest or assist a scene, create a mood or help tell the overall story would excite me and hopefully there are still some film makers who like to use a composer for that purpose as opposed to the Hans Zimmer approach of having a team write various cues while their names are way down in the final scrolling credits. One of these days I’ll be writing a post on the experience of scoring my first feature film…until then, writing for orchestra, big band and various ensembles while playing guitar will keep me plenty busy 🙂

 Posted by at 9:15 pm
Jan 232014
 

I can’t remember when or even where I first met Mulgrew Miller but I do remember the first time I heard him live…it was Dublin, a few years before I left for New York. Mulgrew was playing with Art Blakey’s Jazz Messengers in a promotion put together by Allen Smith and his Jazz On The Terrace organization. It wasn’t my first time to hear Blakey live though. A few years earlier when Louis Stewart and Noel Kelehan’s Bands were playing in Ronnie Scott’s as part of the Sense Of Ireland Arts festival. A few tangents here – I heard Blakey in an usual double bill at the Royal Festival Hall and also, Louis Stewart’s appearance in Ronnie’s featured Ronan Guilfoyle on bass when he had only recently made his debut with Louis. As I sat in the audience at the Royal festival listening to the Messengers I had no idea I would play with many of that band decades later. I played quite a few times with Dennis Irwin (bass) including the New York Town Hall, Valery Ponomarev (trumpet) in his bands and my own big band, Billy Pierce (saxophones) on Fintan O’Neill’s CD debut and a pianist who not only played on my Weill recital Room debut at Carnegie Hall but delayed our exit as he treated my late father to a private, stage side recital of African American Spirituals – then introduced him to all the pianists in Bradley’s late one night including the featured artist Mulgrew Miller.

That night when I heard Mulgrew I was floored by the intensity of the groove, the virtuosity and basically the balls-to-the-wall, take-no-prisoners jazz played in a way that scared the shit out of me. Mulgrew took a solo on Moanin’, one of Blakey’s most famous tunes and I couldn’t believe my ears. Years later I find myself conducting string arrangements at a rehearsal for Jeremy Pelt’s debut for the MaxJazz label “Close To My Heart” and Mulgrew is the pianist. I had written a minimalistic piano part, leaving the interpretation up to the pianist, knowing it wasn’t just ANY pianist – it was Mulgrew Miller! I had made extra copies of the scores in case any of the performers wanted a reference copy to go with their road map type charts. Lewis Nash kept a copy beside him and also helped secure my confidence when I expressed my concern at getting the tempos straight when there were so many ballads. When I chatted with Ronan recently he quoted the same description Stephen Keogh had on his recent trip of the late Jon Wadham, lamenting that many people had three tempi slow, medium and fast. Time spent conducting or working with/writing for great vocalists or soloists will open up a remarkable and exciting world that resides between those apparent three tempi – the equivalent of small, medium and large. When I offered Mulgrew a copy of the scores he very warmly and politely declined saying “I’d rather listen so I don’t step on those beautiful harmonies”. What a kind thing to say to someone on his first arranging recording session and first occasion to conduct for a session. On one particular track Mulgrew played this beautiful fill that sounded so right for the moment that you’d think I had written it.  When I mentioned this fact to an ailing James Williams, in what was most likely the last time I ever spoke to James he commanded me to “Put it in, put it in!” and as he said it I thought how I would have difficulty imagining that section without that fill, and so, in anticipation of our King’s Place performance on April 18th, 2014 I have marked it in the score.

That simple line makes me think of how much time Mulgrew spent with James in James last days. They had played in the same Church in Memphis together, both played with Blakey and one night as myself and Fintan O’Neill listened to James William’s last set in Zinno’s Mulgrew sat in with James on a four hand duet swapping ends of the seat as they took solos – James, who never made any attempt to hide his admiration for his friend introduced him to the late audience say “we call him the State Of The Art’.

So, when you listen to that last ‘A’ section of It’s A Beautiful Evening – bar 3 you hear slowly cascading octaves on the piano, think, as I do, of the four wonderful men I think of when I hear that! Four? Well, there’s the aforementioned Mulgrew and James, then I think of the James’ nephew Tony Reedus and another pianist who’s passing broke mine and many hearts by his sudden passing, George Mesterhazy. George,often spoke with me of how devastated he was by the loss of Tony, his bandmate in Paula West’s band. Ladies and Gentlemen, alone with you I celebrate their memories!

Best,

David

 Posted by at 8:05 pm
Aug 282012
 

Over the years I have read the many debates about strings in jazz and have participated in some along the way. One of the frequent complaints tends to center on the overuse of long tones by arrangers – also referred to as ‘footballs’, ‘goose eggs’ and some others that escape me right now. More often than not these show up as pads – long sustained chords, especially in ballads but also in up tempo tunes too. Why? Sometimes it’s because they sound so beautiful, thinking of Johnny Mandel’s beautiful use of pads while other times it is pure lazy arranging. This coming weekend saxophonist Steve Wilson is premiering a suite a wrote for, and dedicated to him called Journey To Wilsonia and I thought I’d write a few words about why – apologies for any repetition from other posts. This piece came about as a result of a meeting with Steve about a month ago when he mentioned the festival, the lineup and the surprise contact Steve’s manage Laura Hartmann had received from the organizers offering to increase the size of the strings. Don’t even mention the fact that these strings are drawn form the Detroit Symphony and the Michigan Opera Company – that’s all it took. We both knew this was a golden opportunity to tackle something Steve has wanted for sometime. Let me explain… From working with Steve I have become aware of how much freedom he has afforded me on what are basically his projects, so it was no surprise that he wanted to create an atmosphere of interaction with the strings that would take them out of supporting cast roles and bring them right into the middle of the conversation. His desire to engage his fellow musicians was clearly extending way beyond his jazz collaborators. It is with this in mind that I began to write the suite –  chose to feature strings only with Steve on the first movement  A Joyful Synergy – the name comes from Steve’s tune dedicated to the late James Williams, which he called A Joyful Noise. I also thought of the beautiful imagery I visualize always found when I hear a title Make A Joyful Noise Onto The Lord from the African American church hymns. For the record, other very moving titles I have come across are If I Could Hear My Mother Pray Again and It’s You O Lord , Standing In The Need Of Prayer (thinking of Hank Jones and Charlie Haden here). I’m not religious but I am fascinated when oppressed cultures (I’m from one myself) have had a strong belief system despite very little evidence that their prayers are being heard. During the writing of this work I have found myself thinking a lot of James Williams and how Fintan O’Neill and myself could sometimes run into him in up to three jazz clubs in one night – James called us the ‘O’ factor – I will never forget running in to Fergus and Rosaleen Linehan (appearing at the time in Dancing At Lughnasa on Broadway) in Bradley’s when James was playing there. He and Fergus got chatting as they waited to use the tiny bathroom in Bradley’s and upon hearing the accent James asked Fergus where he was from, suspecting he was Irish. James then told Fergus there were two of his compatriots at the bar and introduced us. Fergus, was still at stage the Arts Editor of the Irish Times and was quite proud that two musicians he had just met (us) were known by our fellow New York based players. Steve was very close to James, they made several recordings together as well performing together a lot. I don’t know what it was but Ido know this, once Steve started talking about how much he wanted to involve the string players more – a flame lit inside me, I couldn’t wait to get home and start writing. By that night I had sent them the opening two minutes in an audio file generated by Sibelius to make sure I was headed in the right direction – Steve responded with a strong Yes! and that was all it took. On the subject of pads 😉 I think there are only about 8 bars maximum in the midst of that first movement – the rest is all conversation! If you are in the Detroit area this Saturday at 6pm (Set. 1st) come by and join the party!

Best for now,

David

 Posted by at 2:15 am
Jul 282012
 

The above title is the name of a three movement suite I am currently working on for saxophonist extraordinaire, Steve Wilson. I was a fan of Steve’s playing when I first became aware of him back in the 90s – probably through the late James Williams. I first played with Steve when I sat in with Fintan O’Neill’s band at the Guinness Cork Jazz Festival around that period. I was immediately struck by his warmth and remember very clearly that he and Don Sickler decided to give me the break on Philly Twist when I sat in. I walked from the Jazz Standard with Steve and Nina one day after a Discovery program session (I think that was also in Fintan’s band) and again, loved talking to both him and Nina. Cut to a many years later when Steve’s manager Laura called me to discuss the possibility of a project with strings – one that included the Bird With Strings charts – many of which I had at the time. This was around the time I was starting to play the guitar again, hoping to hide out until I was ‘ready’ – or at least, giving myself a year before I took stock. So much for that, I was less than one month into my plan when Laura called and I suddenly found myself working with Steve and bassist Ira Coleman and a SUNY New Paltz faculty string quartet. That was Spring 2009 and we’ve been quietly working on the string project ever since. A highlight for me was when Steve put together a remarkable string quintet (with Diane Munroe on violin) for his birthday celebration week at Jazz Standard along with Bruce Barth – piano, Ugonna Okegwo – bass and Lewis Nash – drums.

 

Now, on September 1st – I have the privilege of appearing with Steve at the Detroit Jazz Festival on the main stage with a stellar quartet consisting of Renee Rosnes on piano, Peter Washington – bass and Bill Stewart on drums. Diane Munroe is leading a string section that has grown from quintet to a much larger section featuring players from the Detroit Symphony Orchestra. Steve has wanted to engage the strings in a more interactive way since we first did this project and now seemed the perfect opportunity to do that. After a meeting with Steve in the last week I jumped straight in and begin writing “Journey To Wilsonia”. Much of my inspiration is coming from hearing Steve on the last night of his weeklong run at the Standard. Why? Because he played so many different styles within the jazz idiom that week and nailed everything with an energy and precision that you don’t see often. Over the next few weeks I will try and post a blog, or if I figure it out, a video blog on the path to completion and performance of “Journey To Wilsonia”

Until the next one…

 Posted by at 9:54 pm
Jul 132012
 

[ca_audio url=”http://www.davidorourke.com/wp/wp-content/uploads/2012/07/Peacehaven-Robert-Farnon.mp3″ width=”500″ height=”27″ css_class=”codeart-google-mp3-player”]As listed in the calendar, this will be the first workshop to continue the tradition George Mesterhazy began with his informal sessions playing Robert Farnon recordings, score reading sessions etc as he talked about the music in a way that appealed to all levels of musicianship. It is inevitable that any discussion about voicings and anything theory based will be targeted more at the professionals, I will be trying to make sure that I can make it just as interesting for the non professionals (just like George did ;))

One of George’s favorite Farnon CDs was “Lovers Love London” and he kept going back to the composition “Peacehaven” when he talked about the album with me. Click play just above and you can hear one of George’s favorite works.

 

The following musical selections will be addressed, some in more details than others.

a) Holiday For Strings (David Rose Orchestra)

b) Appalachian Spring (opening) Aaron Copeland

c) I Get Along Without You Very Well (Frank Sinatra, arr. Nelson Riddle)*

d) A Nightingale Sang In Berkelee Square (Frank Sinatra, arr. Robert Farnon)

e) A Garden In The Rain (Frank Sinatra, arr. Robert Farnon)*

f) When I Fall In Love (Nat Cole arr. Gordon Jenkins)

VIdeo clips (time permitting):

Nat Cole with Nelson Riddle in a humorous segment from his show featuring a tribute to the arranger and the copyist.

Clip from Jorge Calandrelli workshop by kind permission of ASMAC

If you are planning on attending please fill out the form here so we can get an idea of how many to expect,

Thanks,

David

Please fill out the form as shown in the image below:

Make sure to select the George Mesterhazy Workshop option in the drop down menu.

 Posted by at 12:17 am
Jul 062012
 

The American Society of Arrangers and Composers (ASMAC), originally founded by the great Robert Russell Bennett have been hosting arranging and composition workshops about every 3 or 4 months for a few years now. This series was set up by the late David Blumberg, a wonderful writer who had contributed string arrangements to recordings by artist such as Gloria Gaynor (I Will Survive! arrangement), The Jackson Five (ABC),Ray Charles last recording “Duets” and some Stevie Wonder recordings. Having a sense for how important these workshops and luncheons would be, David along with Larry Goldman proceeded to document each of these workshops on video and thanks to this, generations to come will experience a VERY different kind of workshop on arranging and composing – one conducted by either a legend in the field or someone, though still young who has achieved a level of excellence and recognition already. I have been buying the DVDs for each of these workshops and loving everything from the willingness of the presenters to share so much along with the great ‘insider’ anecdotes. So far I’ve watched Johnny Mandel, Jorge Calandrelli, conductor Jack Feuerman while I await the release of Gayle Levant’s Harp workshop, Jermey Lubbock’s string writing masterclass and many more. Each DVD comes with course materials if you pay an extra nominal fee (usually around $60 for DVD and $15-20 for course materials).

So, Getting To The Yes! I recently watched and thoroughly enjoyed the masterclass present by William (Bill) Ross. In this clinic he went from musical direction (last Barbra Streisand tour), orchestrating for composers like John Williams (moderator for workshop was Conrad Pope, William’s main orchestrator) and composition for film (Tale Of Despereaux & Polar Express) he also gave some cue examples from Forest Gump (Main Title if I remember correctly). At one point in the masterclass he stated that in his opinion it was about “Getting to the Yes…” – this touched on many areas of the film composition world which has changed so much in recent years. Trying to figure out what the Director wants for the cue and how to make the most effect midi mock-ups. He gave solid advice on number and types of sounds to use and all of this was tied into the time frame available – eventually he said it again, it’s about getting to the Yes!

What happens when you get to the yes? In my opinion the writer is often set free to get on with it, the director has decided that the composer scan either deliver what he wants OR come up with something even better than he could imagine. Bill Ross draws so much on his vast experience and shares it with the writers in attendance in a manner that is full of humility and clear love and respect for his craft.

If you found this of interest, go to the website and order any f the masterclasses that appeal to you – here’s the info again www.asmac.org

Until the next time…

David

 Posted by at 1:23 pm
Jul 052012
 

This All I Ask - Farnon/Shearing

So what happens when you start an arrangement with a blank slate and you’ve never written one before? Chances are, if you’re a jazz musician who has been performing for a few years you have already been ‘arranging’ music and coming up with ideas of your own, your own reharmonizations of compositions (your own and others). Now, you have a chance at writing for a big band or orchestra, or smaller ‘chamber’ ensemble. What now?

I’m going to assume that you will already have started listening to recordings of great arrangers and may have had the opportunity to play some great charts in a school/college/professional big band? From now on, start listening with a few different objectives – some conducting courses recommend student conductors to carry out their score study using a “x number of trips through the score” method that begins with first trip looking at key and time signatures while another trip will focus on solo instrumental entries after long absences etc. Listening to a large ensemble recording while focussing on:

a) form

b) instrumentation

c) solos (written and improvised)

d) orchestral textures (also including use of mutes)

e) Harmonization and reharmonization of melody and accompaniment

You can come up with many other interesting aspects of an arrangement to focus on i.e. rhythmic variation, overall architecture of the chart. Remember that even a pianist like Daniel Barenboim who has performed many complete cycles of the Beethoven piano sonatas says he still finds something new in each one when he embarks on another performance of the cycle.

So why the title? This train will make express stops…

Whenever I hear that announcement I can’t help thinking about conversations I had with legendary arranger Bill Finegan on his approach(es). Of course there are infinite ways to approach a chart and several books out there that outline and explain some of the more common ones. The best book IMO is the Rayburn Wright book of analysis of three arrangers (Sammy Nestico, Thad Jones & Bob Brookmeyer) called Inside The Score. His analysis of three scores by each writer is like studying a film scene by scene and frame by frame! Back to Bill Finegan, in one of our conversations he mentioned that he would voice “points of arrival” and connect them by linear writing. This sounds similar to the approach being taught in the Herb Pomeroy Line Writing course at Berklee, though I believe we will learn the true story behind JFK’s assassination before anyone gives a top to bottom, fully explained course on Herb’s approach. Mika Pujhola had a pdf available for a while that went some of the way. Thad Jones is shown to have harmonized passing/approach notes in ways that indicate he too would often harmonize the ‘points of arrival’ or target notes first.

So how should you approach it? Your deadline will give one answer. The sound you are after will give another – this is sometimes dictated by what the client wants. Billy May and Nelson Riddle wrote to a very high level when under the gun. Closer listening or study of their work reveals the difference in their writing if they had more time available. Nelson Riddle’s work on the Sinatra Close To You album and historical anecdotes about the preparation indicate that this project was researched very thoroughly! The Hollywood String Quartet were the nucleus of the instrumentation being used and Leonard Slatkin remembers many discussions between Nelson Riddle and his parents Felix and Eleanora Slatkin. There is a lot information on this in the wonderful Sessions With Sinatra book by Charles Granata. It seems that the more time available to an arranger leads to more contrapuntal content in the arrangement. Not long before she passed away Angela Morley asked me if I wrote fast and I mentioned  some of the above. Angela said (paraphrasing) “If it has to be ready tonight, you write what you know will work and get you to your deadline, if you have a few days you will introduce some counterpoint and if you have a lot of time then you can explore every idea”. I asked her about Bob Farnon who wrote with extensive use of counterpoint and about whom legend says he wrote while ‘resting’ between entrances in the lead trumpet chair of Percy Faith’s orchestra. Angela said “He was fast…”

Food for thought until the next time…

 Posted by at 12:30 am
Mar 122011
 

Among the new music I hope to include soon at the Zinc is a commission (in progress now) for guitarist Hugh Buckley and the Dublin City Jazz Orchestra. The tune is Hugh’s composition “When Wes Was” and will be featured in the upcoming March 28th performance in Dublin’s National Concert Hall by The DCJO led by Ciarán Wilde and Ray Martin. I plan on including other charts I did for the DCJO collaboration with Mary Coughlan soon too.

The format for the Zinc is beginning to take shape now. A typical night will go like this:
6:30-7:30pm The Jazz Standard Youth Orchestra members play a set (after pizza has been consumed :))
8-9pm The O’Rourkestra plus vocalists Jennifer O’Rourke, Nina D’Alessandro and a monthly guest vocalist.
9:30-??? O’Rourkestra plus Joseph Walsh and various guest artists.
11:30pm The tradition of the late set is kept alive when yours truly along with Jon Mele, Alex Hernandez, Eddie Allen and George Mesterhazy/Fintan O’Neill begin a small group set.

Come down and check us out on the first Wednesday of every month.

David

 Posted by at 8:15 pm